Tetchy Manchester United boss Jose Mourinho returned fire on his critics after his side failed to shake their habit of surrendering late points as Everton netted a late leveller.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s sixth goal in five matches looked destined to hand United just their second Premier League victory in eight matches, only for a clumsy late Marouane Fellaini tackle to gift Everton a penalty, which Leighton Baines duly converted.
United have squandered seven points as a result of goals conceded in the last 10 minutes and their latest collapse left the 20-time top flight champions 13 points behind leaders Chelsea and nine adrift of a Champions League place.
“People have to make a decision because when my teams are playing pragmatic football and winning matches and winning titles, they say that is not right or nice,” said Mourinho.
“When my teams, like now, play very, very well and there is huge change in relation to the past two or three years, now they say what matters is to get results no matter what.
“In this moment in the Premier League, we have teams getting results that defend with 11 players, kick ball and attack the space in counter-attacks and it’s phenomenal and beautiful. People have to make a decision.”
Mourinho also defended his decision to introduce substitute Fellaini, who joined United from Everton for £27.5m in 2013, in the 85th minute. Within a matter of minute, the Belgian had tripped midfielder Idrissa Gueye to hand Everton a lifeline.
“Everton is not a passing team anymore, like they were,” added former Chelsea manager Mourinho. “Everton is a team that plays direct, everything is direct. Goalkeeper, direct. Ashley Williams, direct. [Ramiro] Funes Mori, direct. Everything is direct.
“And when a team is losing and plays direct, it intensified the direct football. When you have a player on the bench with two metres, you play the player in front of the defensive line to help the team to the match.”
United opened the scoring on 42 minutes as Ibrahimovic latched onto Anthony Martial’s forward ball and lobbed the needlessly stranded Maarten Stekelenburg, with the ball bobbling over the line having struck both the crossbar and post.
The visitors appeared set to avoid a third straight Premier League draw before Fellaini’s intervention, which culminated in Baines confidently dispatching the spot-kick beyond David de Gea.